“Since Fr Martin has been doing a fine job working so hard to build up this church spiritually, we thought we could help with the physical part,” commented Datuk Dr K Arunasalam, a non-Catholic, who accompanied his Catholic wife Datin Dr Kamales in conducting the first free medical clinic at CDM. This clinic was started in conjunction with the World Day of the Sick on the 13th February, 2016. Both doctors have been in practice for over 30 years and Dr Arunasalam was the past president of the Penang Medical Practitioners Society. The clinic would continue to be open once a month and parishioners can obtain free consultation and some basic medicines. Dr Arunasalam remarked that this will give people a chance for a second opinion before they decide to go see a specialist. Dr Kamales also suggested that this would help migrants with minor aliments and help them with reducing the cost for medical treatment.
Mass was celebrated for at 10 am and a total of 40 Catholics were anointed for serious illnesses. 30 others were given a blessing and prayed on by Fr Martin Arlando, the parish priest of CDM. The event was also opened to non-Catholics and as many as 24 people came in as walk-ins. They came in an ambulance, in wheel chairs and on walkers accompanied by their care givers. The mass was well attended by as many as 200 other parishioners. This year it was observed that as many as 28% more people came to receive anointing and blessing compared with last year. Among them were even two non-Catholics. The presence of more people coming back to the church to pray with the community was reflective that there was healing occurring. In fact, there have been a few testimonies revealing that they have experienced healing since the last time they came for this Mass.
In his homily, Fr Martin related a story of a wife’s experience in caring for her Alzheimer stricken husband. It was devastating for her to watch the man who was her strength diminishing in his capacities. When she thought she was at her wits end, the phone rang and one of her daughters said she was coming over to give her mother a short respite. When her daughter arrived she left home and drove to a park where she prayed her rosary. When she reached the second Luminous Mystery of the Wedding of Cana she began to put herself in that place. When Mary told Jesus that the host had no more wine, how disappointed she must have been at her son’s reply. But in her trust in God she instructed the servants to “Do whatever He tells you”. In the end, things worked out because of this complete trust Mary had in God. This was Mary’s lesson for her, to trust God to uphold her strength for the rest of her life and God will give her respite when she needed it. When she went home while dressing her husband after his bath, he still recognized her said lovingly, “I love you so very much.” At that moment she saw God in him and herself in God. It was a profound moment of grace for her. Jesus will recognize those who love and trust him.
Fr Martin further explained that this is also shown in St Faustina when she wrote in her diary (Entry 761). “… I do not fear anything, although the storm is raging, and frightful bolts strike all around me, and I feel quite alone. Yet, my heart senses You, and my trust grows, and I see Your omnipotence which upholds me. …” We need to entrust our love to God, handing over yourself and our spouse to Him so that He can draw both of you to Him. Your pure love is like a heartfelt prayer to God who accepts all genuine love like a prayer, who sanctifies it and gives it back to us.
The theme for the 24th World Day of the Sick by Pope Francis is “Do Whatever He tells you” His Holiness has asked that the Sick to entrust themselves to the “maternal protection”of Mary. What teaching can we learn from the mystery of the Wedding Feast at Cana? Firstly, we need to trust like Mary to “Do whatever He tells you.” Entrusting yourself to Jesus and His mercy. Secondly, illnesses creates a human crisis where faith is often tested. But it can also deepen faith and offers us a key to discover illness as a way to turn to Jesus who walks by our side. Thirdly, Mary gives us the key to mercy and healing to those who come to Jesus. Mary has experienced this path herself and she cares for her children. She offers concern and comfort and she reflects the tenderness of God for all those who attend to the Sick as she understands their needs. Fourthly, serving those who are sick can be tiring and burdensome. We can be certain that the Lord can surely turn this into something divine. In offering up our toils and suffering, we can be the hands, arms and hearts which help God perform His miracles and be like the water that turns into wine. In concluding, Fr Martin related a story where we need to turn to Mary and know that as many believe, that mothers are the “Light of the World” as she has shown us the way to Jesus by trusting completely in Him.
Fr Martin also gave the sick present a mission to pray for success of the church’s expansion plans in acquiring the adjacent parcel of land to better accommodate the needs of CDM.
At the end of the mass Fr Martin gave Ang Pows and oranges to the sick. Everyone was then invited to join in fellowship at Faustina Hall where the medical clinic held it first session. It was well attended by old and young and anyone who thought they had some aliment or sickness.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
15th February, 2016.